Grant Flower’s Zimbabwe departure halted

Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 18:05 PM IST

Johannesburg: Zimbabwe batting coach Grant Flower was denied permission to leave Harare airport on Monday because of paperwork problems as the team travelled to neighbours South Africa for a short tour.

“We are hoping to resolve the matter in the next 24 hours,” Zimbabwe team manager Lovemore Banda told Reuters.

“Grant Flower had to travel on a temporary document because his passport is still in the embassy in London waiting for a visa application.

“Those temporary documents are usually accepted all over the world, but South Africa have recently changed their rules due to all their immigration problems.”

Flower, the 39-year-old younger brother of England coach Andy, is set to combine his role as batting coach with making a playing return for Zimbabwe, six years after he last played international cricket.

Flower, who has featured in 67 tests and 219 one-day internationals, was one of the key figures in the exodus of senior players from the national team in 2004 after Heath Streak was removed from the captaincy. Fast bowler Streak is the current bowling coach.

“Having some experience around is vital as we make our way back into international cricket and head towards test cricket, and there’s no doubt Grant still has what it takes,” chief selector Alistair Campbell said.

“We’re very excited about having him back in the team. He is still as fit as a 21-year-old, and had a brilliant season for Essex in the one-day game. We cannot wait to build a few innings around him and learn from all the experience he has. We are all hoping he will make a big difference to the stability of our batting,” captain Elton Chigumbura said on Monday upon the team’s arrival in Johannesburg.

The short tour begins with Twenty20 games in Bloemfontein and Kimberley on Friday and Sunday, followed by three one-day internationals.

Bureau Report